40 Life and Money Habits To Master Before 40

40 Life and Money Habits To Master Before 40

Stepping into your 40s can feel like a milestone. It’s a time of reflection, self-discovery, and setting the stage for the rest of your life. Let’s dive into some life and money habits you should aim to master before you hit this critical age. You can build these habits in your 20s and 30s one after another until you have them all mastered by 40. When mastered for consistently good action, these habits can significantly improve your quality of life, career, business, relationships, and financial position.

1. Be the main character in your own life

You’re the author of your own story. Don’t settle for a supporting role. By taking the reins, you mold the narrative and make decisions that best serve you. Think of the times you’ve put others’ needs before yours, only to feel unsatisfied. Don’t let someone else choose your life path.

2. Have faith in growing your abilities and intelligence

Believe that you can evolve. Adopting this mindset helps you embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, and see effort as a path to mastery. It’s like learning a new language—it might seem daunting at first, but you’ll persevere. Look at obstacles and failures as lessons, not final outcomes. You are not doomed to be the same person you are now for the rest of your life.

3. The career you choose determines your destiny

Your profession can shape your life trajectory. It affects your financial stability, personal fulfillment, and work-life balance. Consider the person who chooses a career that aligns with their passion—they’ll likely find more satisfaction than someone who views work merely as a means to a paycheck.

4. Who you marry is one of the most important decisions of your life

Marriage isn’t just about love, compatibility, shared values, and mutual respect. The person you choose to spend your life with can significantly influence your happiness, personal growth, and overall well-being. Picture a friend in a nurturing and supportive marriage—it’s clear how this positively impacts their life. Your spouse is your financial partner and life coach; choose wisely.

5. Write down your goals for all areas of your life and update them yearly

Writing down your goals makes them tangible and helps you stay focused. Regular updates ensure they remain relevant. It’s like having a personal roadmap that guides you toward your desired destination. Your written goals tell your subconscious what to work towards.

6. Maintain a growth mindset with hope for a better life in the future

Believe in your ability to grow, improve, and change your life situation. This mindset fuels optimism, resilience, and motivation. It’s the difference between seeing a failure as a setback or an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s a belief that your current reality isn’t your permanent destiny.

7. Buying time is one of the best uses of money

Time is a non-renewable resource. Investing in services that free up your time—like hiring a cleaner or using grocery delivery—can enhance your quality of life. Think about how much more you could do with an extra hour daily. Spend your time wisely and pay others to do what you don’t want to.

8. Save at least three months of living expenses

Having a safety net provides financial security and peace of mind. It prepares you for unexpected events like job loss, medical emergencies, home maintenance, or car repairs. Remember, it’s not about if these situations will arise but when.

9. Debt is only for emergencies

Debt can be a necessary evil in emergencies but should be avoided otherwise. It’s like being in a hole—the more you borrow, the deeper it gets and the harder it is to climb out.

10. Don’t go into debt to buy depreciating assets

Borrowing money for assets that lose value over time, like a new car or trendy gadgets, can lead to financial strain. Consider how quickly the value of a brand-new car drops the moment it leaves the lot. Debt and payments will keep you broke.

11. Insurance is to avoid the risk of ruin

Insurance is a safeguard against catastrophic events. It provides a financial buffer that protects you and your loved ones from potential ruin. Imagine the relief of having the right home insurance when a natural disaster strikes.

12. Diversify your life in time, relationships, and money

Putting all your eggs in one basket is risky. Diversification—how you spend your time, build relationships with, and invest your money—provides a safety net. It’s like a balanced diet—different nutrients contribute to overall health. When your life is well diversified, you will feel less stress.

13. Read at least 20 pages of books a day

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Regular reading sharpens your intellect, broadens your perspective, and stimulates creativity. Just as a bodybuilder works out daily, feeding your mind daily helps it grow stronger.

14. Read at least 12 books a year

Consistently reading books throughout the year expands your knowledge and understanding of the world. It’s akin to adding different spices to your meals—each one enhances your experience uniquely.

15. Write daily to clarify your thoughts (Journaling, blogging, books)

Writing helps you organize your thoughts and understand your emotions better. It’s like clearing the clutter in a room, making it easier to navigate and more comfortable.

16. Capture good ideas with a note app

A note app is a tool to record flashes of inspiration, interesting insights, or potential solutions to problems. It’s the modern equivalent of a net to catch butterflies of ideas before they flutter away.

17. Limit video, TV, and streaming watching to just two hours a day or less.

Limiting screen time encourages you to engage in more productive or fulfilling activities. It’s like swapping out fast food for healthier options—the benefits might not be immediately visible, but they compound over time.

18. Get daily sunlight for at least 10 minutes

Sunlight provides vitamin D, improves mood, and helps regulate sleep. It’s a small daily investment with significant returns, much like watering a plant to see it bloom.

19. Go for walks daily

Walking is a simple, low-impact exercise that boosts physical and mental health. It’s like taking a daily multivitamin—it provides many benefits and forms a solid foundation for your well-being.

20. Spend time in nature each week

Nature offers a respite from the bustle of modern life. It soothes the mind, rejuvenates the spirit, and reconnects you with the world around you. It’s like a weekly detox for your mind.

21. Incorporate play into your work

Blending fun with work makes tasks enjoyable and fosters creativity. It’s like adding sugar to medicine—making the process much more palatable.

22. Stand up straight with good posture

Good posture isn’t just about looking confident—it also promotes better health by reducing strain on your muscles and joints. It’s like building a house with a strong, straight foundation.

23. Optimize your bedroom for sleep

A well-optimized bedroom—dark, quiet, and cool—facilitates restful sleep, a pillar of good health. It’s like preparing the soil before planting seeds—you create the perfect conditions for growth.

24. Treat people kindly in words and action

Kindness cultivates solid and positive relationships. It’s not just about what you say but what you do. It’s like watering a garden—the more you nurture it, the more it flourishes.

25. Listen at least twice as much as you speak

Active listening fosters understanding, empathy, and better communication. It’s like stepping into someone else’s shoes—you gain a new perspective.

26. People will like you if you are interested in them

Showing genuine interest in others makes them feel valued and fosters stronger connections. It’s like giving a gift—people appreciate the thought and care you put into it.

27. Don’t lend people things you expect to get back

If you lend something, be prepared not to get it back. This mindset avoids potential strain on your relationships. It’s like giving a gift rather than lending—it comes without strings attached.

28. Don’t take advice from unsuccessful people

Seek guidance from those who have achieved what you aspire to. It’s like getting directions from someone who’s already reached the destination—you can trust they know the way.

29. Take your responsibilities seriously but not yourself

Fulfilling your obligations is essential, but remember to enjoy the ride. It’s like being the driver of a car—you’re in control, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the scenery.

30. Be a good winner and a good loser

Grace in victory and defeat cultivates respect and resilience. It’s like the tide—it rises and falls but doesn’t lose its essence.

31. Give everyone the respect they deserve

Treating everyone with respect fosters a positive and supportive environment. It’s like the golden rule—treat others as you would want to be treated.

32. Keep things as simple as possible

Simplicity reduces stress and complexity. It’s like decluttering a room—once you remove the excess, you appreciate the remaining items more.

33. Maintain a mindset of gratitude

Gratitude boosts happiness and fosters a positive outlook. It’s like shining a light on your blessings, making them easier to see and appreciate.

34. Stay curious

Curiosity fuels learning and innovation. It’s like being an explorer—you continually discover new things.

35. Stay courageous

Courage enables you to confront fear, uncertainty, and challenges. It’s like a shield in a battle—without it, you’re vulnerable.

36. Believe everyone gets what they deserve in the end

Belief in justice can provide peace of mind and guide ethical decisions. It’s like believing in gravity—it’s always there, whether you see it or not.

37. Live your life in a way that minimizes regrets

Making mindful choices helps you avoid regret and live a more fulfilling life. It’s like choosing the right ingredients for a recipe—you’ll end up with a dish you love.

38. Don’t gossip, do keep secrets

Avoid gossip and respect privacy to build trust and integrity. It’s like being in a vault—only then can people trust you with their valuables.

39. Don’t burn any bridges with people

Even when they change, preserving relationships keeps doors open for the future. It’s like preserving a path—you never know when to use it again.

40. Only have confidence after competence is achieved.

True confidence comes from competence. It’s earned through acquiring skills, knowledge, and experience, not simply willed into existence. It’s like mastering a musical instrument—you can’t just declare yourself a virtuoso. You must invest time learning, practicing, and refining your technique. When you hit the right notes consistently, you can confidently say you’ve mastered the instrument.

This principle is essential in all areas of life. For instance, confidence without competence can lead to overpromising and underdelivering in your profession. It can damage your reputation and lead to missed opportunities. But when you’ve honed your skills and acquired the necessary knowledge, your confidence is grounded in reality. It helps you perform better and leaves a positive impression on others.

The same applies to personal relationships. Pretending to be more experienced or knowledgeable than you are can lead to misunderstandings and disappointments. Genuine confidence, rooted in competence, builds trust and respect.

In conclusion, before you claim confidence, ensure it’s backed by competence. That’s the confidence that stands the test of time, the one that truly matters. It may take longer to build, but its foundation is rock solid.

Key Takeaways

    • Play the lead role in your life’s narrative
    • Foster a belief in your ability to grow
    • Align your career with your passion for fulfillment
    • Choose a life partner wisely
    • Document and regularly update your life goals
    • Prioritize buying time over material possessions
    • Establish a financial safety net
    • Limit debt to emergencies and avoid depreciating assets
    • Use insurance as a safeguard
    • Diversify your investments in time, relationships, and money
    • Cultivate a daily reading and writing habit
    • Capture ideas digitally
    • Optimize screen time, sunlight, and sleep
    • Walk daily and spend time in nature weekly
    • Blend work with play
    • Maintain good posture
    • Practice kindness, active listening, and show genuine interest in others
    • Be ready not to get back what you lend
    • Seek advice from successful people
    • Take your responsibilities seriously but maintain a light-hearted approach to life
    • Demonstrate grace in winning and losing
    • Respect everyone and simplify your life
    • Cultivate gratitude, curiosity, and courage
    • Trust in Karma and justice
    • Aim for a regret-free life
    • Avoid gossip, respect privacy, and maintain relationships
    • Ground your confidence in competence, ensuring it’s based on fundamental skills and experience rather than wishful thinking.


As we navigate life’s journey, mastering these habits can play a pivotal role in shaping our destiny. These principles remind us to take charge of our narrative, foster a growth mindset, make wise choices in love and work, manage our finances judiciously, and invest in our physical and mental well-being. They guide us in nurturing our relationships, taking advice from suitable sources, handling success and failure gracefully, simplifying our lives, and cultivating a positive attitude. Ultimately, living by these habits can lead us to a fulfilling life characterized by personal growth, financial stability, meaningful relationships, and fewer regrets.